Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The War Gets Personal

I received this in an email from a friend who was just deployed to Iraq for the second time.
I've known several people who have done tours there, but Felix's emails need to be syndicated.
So, I'm passing this on to my readers in hopes they will pass it on and perhaps he will find someone who is willing to give him a wider audience than the Ortho-blogosphere. Please keep him and his fellow soldiers in mind while you are giving Thanks tomorrow.

Tonight we would fly through Iraq's own sky. The birds of hydraulic oil and steel came in one by one and set down for the real work had yet begun. Our bags were packed hours ago spent the night with us waiting on the airfield below. With our bags were finally loaded, we could muster aboard. These flying buses would transport us to world unknown and very far from home.
We eventually shuffled on board and situated ourselves like sardines in a can. The only difference is sardines weren't often packed with large bags on their lap. The night was bright and the stars above were our only hope of visible light. The air had a bite but I liken it to a baby with no teeth so no damage was done.
With the engines whining and rotors turning for flight, we took off climbing into atmosphere enclosed in darkness and lacking of life. My nerves have always found comfort in this type of flight, which was quick and stealthy because of pilots, like my brother Russ, and the crew members, like my cousin Paul, that make our nation's aviation truly second to none the world has ever known, not now or ever.
As I looked out back of this helicopter in flight in the void that we call night, I saw many things that gave me pause or one my say, insight. The crews feet did dangle from the back of the craft in flight like fingers running the blackest of hair, which you and I know of as the night. I looked in on the trees below. I watched the trees as they slept and stood their ground with centurions of streets lamps staggered all around.
We flew past a pond that looked like God spilled milk on the ground below but sought not to clean it up because it look cool on the ground. It was a night with no moon so there was limited light to assist one to see.
I remarked to myself and I looked ahead and below. I know what the edges of the look like, simply barren and alone. I see a village with life and lights and then I see nothing all in the same fight.
As the miles passed by, I saw a fire raging below. Her dance was long and slow. The show she put on was cast in a memorizing glow but I could not watch long because I was moving very fast and had far to go, eventually I lost sight of her and her translucent glow.
As I've had the privilege to do many times before, I looked Orion in the face and he remember me by name. We exchange looks like someone bumbing into an old friend, who knew you from a different time and place. We nodded our heads and kept to our own direction and pace with the knowledge we see each other because we've yet to finish this life's race.
At night all the worlds seems the same, we all seem to have desires very similar or same. A place to lay our head and those we love in safety. To dream with our belly's full and our hearts content. Most wanting nothing more than a house and place to pass hours of the night in slumbering delight with those we love and to whom we say, "Goodnight."
We eventually landed and I said my goodbye's to Orion, the birds, and the night ever expanding sky. It was at last time for a little work and then off to bed.
Now many of you begin your Thanksgiving day anew, with family and fully belly, packed and tight. I have some food for thought that I want to give to you. It's taken me a week to cook up for you.
Remember, my home is America where I sleep with little fear and much rest. Here I've learned, again, to fall asleep with the sounds of machine gunfire echoing in the distance. I have much to say when I lay my head on my pillow, pray, and say, "Amen."
Thankful I am for the land and people I call home and return I must. My platform is raised because I stand on the shoulders of danger only to see what America is and truly can be. My thoughts are with you as you get together and feast. I encourage you all to love more and be all that God wants you to be.
It's funny but I don't think a life worth living is the one of ease but the one where sacrifices are made. The closer you are to death the more beauty you find in life. A life where mistakes are made and lessons learned. How learning to go without gives value to what you have now or will have. How learning that what we want is not as important as what we seek to give. Well, that's all I have for now. Take care and thanks for what you do.
In Him,
P.S. Have another plate on Thanksgiving for me....go ahead eat that extra cake or pie! I would have....


Anonymous said...

God bless Felix and his family over there.

Anonymous said...

May God bless and protect Felix and his fellow soldiers.

Thanks for sharing this s-p.


Grace said...

Wow.What an amazing letter.

It's been in my thoughts from time to time that if we have to be in a war, one of the unexpected benefits might be the men who return from combat with a courage that only seems to come under fire. It would be a beautiful thing if young men could acquire that amount of character without having to face what soldiers face. (And it happens too to women -- I don't want to sound sexist. But it's more pivotal for a healthy civilization to have men with this kind of courage than women. That's what I believe.)

Not all of us go into combat, but like a little leaven that leavens all the dough, the ones that go affect us all. And, thank God, most Americans get it this time around.

I might be biased, since I come from a military family. But this is how it seems to me.

Elizabeth said...

God bless and protect Felix, his fellow soldiers and their families.